The IRS has just released an information sheet that addresses some new procedures they’ll be implementing in regards to non-filing taxpayers. Along with increase their use of data and analytics to reach out to high-income non-filers, the IRS will also be increasing the frequency of face-to-face visits from revenue officers (ROs). If you’re a high-income taxpayer with unfiled returns for 2018 or prior years, then you may be receiving a visit from an RO. Here’s what you need to know about the IRS’s new strategies and what you can expect from such a visit. If you need assistance with delinquent returns, please contact our Provo tax experts today.
Who Should Expect a Visit?
As mentioned above, the IRS is primarily targeting those with higher incomes, and will only be visiting for unfiled returns from 2018 or earlier. Additionally, you should have already received numerous contacts via mail from the IRS regarding your unfiled tax returns; a face-to-face visit should not be the first time you’re hearing about it. If you fall into these categories, you may very well receive an in-person visit from an RO.
However, these visits are typically unannounced, so you should not expect to be contacted in advance to schedule a visit. Please note that these visits are not meant to threaten or bully you into compliance. The goal of the RO is to inform you of your tax filing and payment obligations and to help bring you into compliance with U.S. tax laws.
How Do You Know They’re Legitimate?
Of course, you’ve likely already come to the conclusion that this enforcement strategy opens up a new world of opportunities for tax scammers. What’s to stop those people who try to scam you over the phone from doing so on your door step? It is extremely important that you inform yourself regarding the IRS’s regular procedures so that you can recognize a scam when it knocks on your door. Here are a few things to look for if someone claiming to be an RO appears at your home:
- Have you already been contacted about this debt? As mentioned above, you should have received multiple mailers about it—and, of course, you should actually have a tax debt or unfiled return. If you’re confident you’ve filed and paid all your taxes, or you’ve never been contacted by the IRS before, then shut the door.
- Do they have two forms of credentials? You have the right to ask to see two sets of valid identification. Both of them should include a serial number and a photo of the RO.
- Are they explaining your options or threatening you? An RO should never threaten you with criminal action. However, they will inform you of your liability and possible consequences of non-compliance.
- What kind of payment are they asking for? An IRS employee can and likely will request payment from you, but they will offer you several options of payment, including writing a check to the U.S. Treasury. They will never request unusual or personalized forms of payment directly to them.
You should always thoroughly question anyone who comes to your door claiming to be an IRS employee. This is the best way to protect yourself from becoming the victim of a tax scam.
Holding Refunds for Unfiled Returns
The IRS’s announcement also addressed a new program that they will be implementing for non-filers called the Delinquent Return Refund Hold (DRRH) program. This program allows the IRS to hold any refunds you’re due if you have unfiled returns within a five-year span of that return. So, if you’re expecting a refund this year, but you have unfiled returns within the last five years, it’s important to file immediately if you want to ensure your refund will be sent to you.
Don’t Wait for a Visit
Please don’t wait for the IRS to hold your refunds or for an RO to come to your door before addressing any delinquent tax returns you may have. If you know you have unfiled returns, contact the Provo tax experts at Biesinger & Kofford, CPAs. We can work with you to get those returns filed and any past-due taxes paid so that you don’t have to deal with an unwelcome visit from an IRS employee. Call and schedule an appointment today.